MEEI 10-08 04

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary | Boston

The developing world is home to 80% of the 360 million people worldwide who suffer from disabling hearing loss and 90% of the 345 million people who are visually impaired or blind.  Africa sees over 600,000 deaths from cancer every year and by 2030, 70% of the world’s newly diagnosed cancers – including tobacco and infection-related malignancies that often manifest in the head and neck – will be detected in developing countries.  The problem is further magnified in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa where trained medical professionals are so scarce that the majority of patients have no access to even basic ENT or eye care with only 496 otolaryngologists and 1,000 ophthalmologists serving a population of 950 million.  A lack of local medical faculty and training programs has created a self-perpetuating shortage of trained physicians to serve the existing population, much less anticipate its exponential growth.

Mass. Eye and Ear’s Office of Global Surgery and Health was created to help address this urgent need for the training of in-country physicians and care givers to treat patients with eye and ENT conditions.  The Office extends Mass. Eye and Ear’s mission globally by leveraging the resources available at Mass. Eye and Ear to revolutionize subspecialty education in the developing world, offering local sustainable solutions the life-altering and even life-threatening needs of the most vulnerable in our global community.

Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Each year more than 200,000 people from more than 80 countries seek care at Mass. Eye and Ear and more than 20,000 of them undergo life-changing surgery. After uniting with Schepens Eye Research Institute in 2011, Mass. Eye and Ear became the world’s largest vision and hearing research center, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation.

Faculty members are the ultimate resource of all educational institutions.  They are the teachers, stewards, agents of knowledge transmission, and most importantly role models for students – reproducing the profession by training the next generation of professionals. [1]

Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. These physicians also staff the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. As a specialty teaching and research hospital, Mass. Eye and Ear is uniquely positioned to conduct innovative research programs and deliver them to people in Boston and throughout the world.


[1] Frenk J, Chen L, et al. Health professionals for a new century:  transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world.  Lancet 2010; 376: 1923-1958.

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